tv Piers Morgan Live CNN November 20, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
allegations of bullying, now the rest of the season, is canceled. i'll talk exclusively to the parents of a 13-year-old boy, the one who was targeted. also, anger management. why alex rodriguez says this to wfan. >> i'm so heated up and so pissed off, i can't think straight right now. >> a-rod's attorney joins me. and george zimmerman, traumatized, his former neighbor defends him tonight. plus, eyewitnesss to the assassination of a 6-year-old boy in the line of fire when jfk was killed. he's grown up now and joins me tonight to remember that extraordinary day. what if tragedy hadn't struck 50 years ago? what would america be like today? how history might have changed forever. i want to begin with the big
story, the "n" word rearing it's ugly head once again in a massachusetts town where the rest of the high school football team season was cancelled after racist graffiti was spray painted on the home of a 13-year-old player there are disturbing charges of racist behavior and bullying. joining me the parents of 13-year-old isaac phillips. welcome to both of you. thank you very much for joining the show tonight. let me start with you, anthony phillips. what has gone on here? was the graffiti and why do you think it was sprayed in the way it was against your son? >> well, it said night stone need the "n" word on the side of my foundation. my son was having issues with the football team. that's why we feel it's a football issue. it's not our town, racist thing. police have been working hard to try to find the coward that has did this. but with everything that's going on with the town, i think, you
know, that person is not going to step forward. >> how do you feel about the punishment in terms of the fact the whole town now will have no football? do you think it's an appropriate measure to be taken? >> i think it is an appropriate measure. i feel horrible for, you know, the kids that are not involved, but i mean, we are a small town. i mean, things like this shouldn't happen in a a small community like ours, so when it does, i think it's time for drastic measures, you know, cancelling the football season, i think that will flush whoever that it is that's responsible for this to step forward or maybe put enough pressure forward on them that they will come forward. >> i want to play a clip.
this is from isaac himself, his reaction to what happened. >> if that's what's going to get someone to say something, then that's -- that is what has to be done. >> andrea, as his mother, how do you feel about what has happened to your boy? he's 13 and obviously enjoyed his sport. it's a horrible thing to have occurred. >> it is a horrible thing. he didn't ask for it. he didn't do anything for something like this to happen, so it's very sad. obviously, that it happened especially for my son but no matter who it would have been towards, it's a horrible thing to happen. >> in terms of the previous bullying and harassment, which we understand was also of a racist nature, what kind of thing has been going on? >> his cleats were taken out of his locker. water were put in them and they
were put in the trash, and also, that same day, his bike tire was slashed right outside of the school, right outside of the weight room to the football locker room. >> and anthony phillips, has he been subjected to other racist abuse? >> what's that? i'm sorry? >> i'm sorry, yes, i was just asking you if he had been subjected to other racist abuse other than graffiti. >> no, no, this was the first incident ever that word has been used towards my son. you know, we live in a small town. i heard the "n" word is, you know, commonly used because of rappers is what i've been told by parents, you know and stuff, you know, that the kids do use it, which is disturbing to me. we are -- this town is a majority full of white people. to know there is a bunch of white kids running around in school saying yo what's up "n"
word, this goes to show you the mentality of some of these kids. >> i mean, obviously, it's an issue. we had a debate last night on the use of the "n" word and i made the point, if you're going to have rap stars and other leading figures in the black community using that word in songs and everything else, what kind of message does that send to the youth of america? >> well, i mean, what people fail to say, which i mean, i guess that's your right, i mean, everyone knows a group of white kids shouldn't be saying it. >> the kids know it's not a word they should be using towards anybody ed, regardless if it's in songs or where they hear it. they know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. >> andrea, do you think isaac knows who sprayed this graffiti? >> no, he does not. >> i think that's what is
bothering him the most about the situation, because he doesn't know who it is. he feels, you know, obviously having issues on the football team. he feels as it is a football member, you know, someone close to him, he doesn't want to go to the school anymore. we've been trying to keep him home to give him time because we want him to return back to the school. we don't want him to let these cowards win. we realize it's not the whole football team, you know. we realize it's unfortunate some of these seniors may not be able to play their last game, you know. but like i spoke today in the meeting, the school committee meeting, instead of everyone lashing out, the game is a week from now, let's just hope that someone comes forward instead of the 500-plus supporters of the game, you know, for the game to be played. you know, i believe that support should be, you know, put -- >> finding out who did it. >> finding out who did it. so, then they can play that game. like i said, the game is only a week away. from what i understand, i mean,
i'm sure the other team would like to have the game, too. if this is tuesday night and still no one comes about, i guess everyone can be mad no one is playing that game. but as far as i'm concerned, you have plenty of time to put that game on if that's what you want. obviously, you know, the chicken bowl, that doesn't affect the seniors. i'm talking about the seniors. put enough pressure on these cowards, these few individuals that's making this town seem racist, you know, have them come forward, you know, so you guys can play your game. >> andrea, let me just put to you what the "boston herald" said. not everyone agrees with the punishment that's been meted out here. they said in a leader article, quitters never win, winners never quit, does high school sports teach any lesson fundamental or important than
that so why is the lunemburg team quitting? why is the town of lunenburg letting one incident of racist stupidity stopping it? what is youren? >> i don't think it's labeling them as quitters at all by doing that. i think it's showing an action, showing they are taking action and that they are not going to allow something like this to happen. >> yeah -- >> and final question for you, anthony. yeah, finally, anthony, how is asic and how does he feel about the fact football is suspended? does he want to get it sorted as quickly as possible? >> well, yeah, you know, he would be -- i mean, he would love to be playing. he doesn't know who has done this to him. like i said, he really feels it was someone close to him. i mean, we're looking for answers. we didn't ask for all this media press.
it kind of blew up in our face. i feel we've been trying to do the best we can to, you know, support isaac along with listening to the school committee, the superintendent, allow the police to do their investigation. you know, i'm disturbed by some people's comments, for instance "the boston herald" guy's comments. i'm not a quitter. my kid, even after his bike tires got slashed, you know, he was still playing. he was still hanging around with those kids knowing this was happening. we brought it to coach's attention. nothing was done. i mean, what are we supposed to do? wake up and find that and am i supposed to paint it over and not say anything? this is small town. i coached for this town. the bangles, we went undefeated, my 8-year-old is a big part of that team. he's asking me tonight is he going to have to leave school? like, this is a situation that is spiralled into something
else. i mean, my kid was the victim. and -- >> this is not a town issue. it's not the whole entire town, at all, which a lot of people are portraying and making the whole entire blue knights team to be racist. that's definitely not what we're trying to say at all. we realize it's a few, one, two, through whatever it is individuals but they are a team and -- >> right. and the reality is that somebody somewhere, somebody somewhere knows who did this and they need to come forward. >> yes. >> or expose them as the gutless little cowards that they are because what they did to your son was, frankly, utterly disgusting. anthony phillips and andrea, thank you for joining me. send my very best to isaac. i hope he's back playing football soon. and i hope these horrible little bullies get discovered quickly. thank you very much for joining me. >> thank you, piers, for having us, thank you. meanwhile, in new york city
a sports superstar on the defensive tonight. the yankees alex rodriguez storming out of a arbitration hearing. a-rod says he thinks bud is trying to destroy his career. joining me now is alex's attorney, joe tacopina. remarkable scenes today. why was a-rod so uptight about everything? >> uptight is not the word. i mean, just absolutely flabbergasted, the fact that his accuser, the individual who has signed off on an unprecedented historical unwarranted suspension, refused to come to this proceeding when he's the one who made this decision to invoke 211 games against alex. again, unprecedented. unwarranted. come here, sit in the chair, take an oath, explain your decision to make the suspension. what this really is, piers, is coward and hypocrisy. hypocrisy because he went on
national tv, he went on the david letterman show and joked about it in the summer prior to handing down the suspension, had no problem talking about it then but he won't come into alex's proceeding where he wants to destroy this guy's career and take an oath and answer very tough questions. it's unbelievable to me. >> well, let's take a listen to what alex rodriguez said today on the radio. >> my only message to the commissioner is, i know you don't like new york, but come to new york and face the music. >> what about you? does he like you? >> he hates my guts. 100% it's personal and it's about his legacy and my legacy and he's trying to destroy me. he's retiring in 2014 and to put
me on his mantle on his way out is his accomplishment. >> why do so many think he's another lance armstrong in the making? >> well, i honestly have no idea. i've come to know him and he's a spectacular human being. he gives of himself, the charitable deeds he does that no one knows about. he's someone who doesn't gripe and complain. today he lost it for a good reason. he sat through ten days, ten days of this proceeding where he listened to this guy tony bosch come in there, make up stories about him, be impeached where he slithered off the witness stand and waiting for his turn to put on his case. the witness we chose to call to explain his decision, which we knew he couldn't explain would be commissioner selig. the individual who testified according to mlb, saying mr. man
ford testified the c.o.o. of baseball regarding the explanation of suspension. that's not true, piers. mr. manford basically deferred to mr. selig. it wasn't my call, it was bud selig's call. if that's the case, how is it possible that we cannot call him in this proceeding to question him how he got to 211 games -- >> let me ask you this, joe. >> sure. >> i think it's your real bone of contention, both you and your client that the scale of the punishment or acquisition itself that he cheated, do you accept and does he accept that he did take performance-enhancing drugs? are you simply enraged by what you view as a draconian sentence? >> there is not a human being with a brain that doesn't have a motivation to go against alex that thinks everyone else gets 50 and alex gets 211 and that's normal. the people who rallied behind him just for that purpose alone is one thing. let me be clear, piers, we're talking about not the time alex said in 2001 he used performance-enhancing drugs, an
admission he made because he didn't have to make because he wasn't on the charges. alex rodriguez did not take performance-enhancing drugs in the timeframe they are questioning. he made an admission over ten years ago. 2010, '11, '12 -- >> when was the last time -- >> alex admitted that. again, this is over a decade or so ago, when he played for the texas rangers. >> alex rodriguez said and you believe him that he hasn't taken performance enhancing drugs in at least a decade? >> absolutely. it would defy science because what bosch is accusing him of, scientific results of tests would make it impossible, impossible for alex not to have tested positive. >> joe, always good to talk to you. thank you very much indeed for coming on the show. >> thank you. when we come back, george zimmerman's former neighbor
defends him. and what if jfk lived and won reelection? would a second kennedy term be like? i got this. [thinking] is it that time? the son picks up the check? [thinking] i'm still working. he's retired. i hope he's saving. i hope he saved enough. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners,
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samantha scheibe and her mother, hope mason, describe zimmerman as alone and fascinated by guns. she feared him but stayed with him because she thought she could help him. she reached out to me to do an interview three weeks ago. she said she and george had an argument over her demand he get professional help for his depression. >> george zimmerman's girlfriend
described him as depressed and fascinated by guns. but the man that shot trayvon martin and found not guilty has defenders. george taaffe, what is your reaction to the latest incident involving your friend george zimmerman, given it's the fourth time i think he's been involved in such a clash with the police? >> well, piers, in my honest opinion and i'm not a medical doctor, but i believe that george is suffering from untreated posttraumatic stress disorder. and i base it upon, you know, some of the criteria that i read in the dsm iv which is now the in the dsm iv which is now the v, one of the guests on another show is on -- corrected me on that and it's really no different in the version, but, you know, it has a manifestation. first of all, george is a spiritual and religious person. he comes from a religious family that believes in the ten
commandments. and one of those are thou shall not kill. even though the act was deemed as self-defense and he was acquitted of the charges of second-degree murder, you know, we as human beings, you know, we have those suppressed feelings, and i believe this is just a manifestation of the ptsd, which i believe right now needs to be treated. >> but if he's suffering from all this, what is he doing in a house full of guns? ar-15s, shotguns, handguns? i mean, surely it's an absolute recipe for potential disaster all over again. >> well, boys will have their toys, as they say, but you know. >> what? >> he has always been around -- >> wait a minute. >> guns -- >> wait a minute, boys will have their toys? >> sure. >> is that really what you just said?
>> sure -- >> george zimmerman that shot down an unarmed teenager and got off a murder rap, you're saying he should keep the guns despite his drama over the whole thing because boys want their toys? >> piers, let's review this. he was acquitted of all charges. >> think of what you said and think carefully. >> i just did. >> boys and their toys. >> people have toys -- >> they are not toys. mr. taaffe, guns are not toys. >> it's a cliche, piers, it's a cliche. >> ar-15s are not toys. >> i understand how grave the situation -- >> why do you treat it like describing guns as toys. >> it's a cliche, piers. >> how would you feel if trayvon martin's parents are watching this show, as they may will be and george zimmerman's friends saying boys need to use their toys? >> a second amendment right to
carry any weaponry he wants. he has not been convicted of any charges. >> even though -- even though you yourself -- >> it don't matter what even though. it has nothing to do -- >> it does, actually, sir, with respect -- >> these -- >> with respect, the facts are what you have told me -- >> do you want to hear the facts? >> assuming you know george zimmerman -- >> and i'm trying to answer you. >> if i may finish my question -- >> and i'm trying did -- >> go ahead. >> assuming you know him as well as you claim to, your opening statement to me was that you believe george zimmerman is so traumatized by killing somebody that he may be suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and i asked you --
>> he has not turned. >> and i asked you why should he be in a room full of guns? >> piers, he has not discharged this weapon and these women who a opportunistic. and with the ptsd, and -- >> the women around him, the women around him may also argue very strongly that they, too, vulnerable around george zimmerman who has posttraumatic stress disorder and treats guns like toys. and there seems to be a familiar -- >> that's a cliche. >> those are your words. >> that's just a cliche. he has not violated any codes, okay? anybody that wants to bear arms, it's plural. it doesn't say right to bear arm, does it? have you read the second amendment?
does it say right to bear arm? >> my point was that you said, as his friend -- >> okay -- >> he's suffering from a mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder. >> i said he's suffering from untreated -- why should he have so many guns? >> let's take the event, the life-changing event, the trama that he just experienced. okay? he's on his way out to target. next thing you know he's living his life on the run and he's got quite a few people after him. okay? because they believe that he murdered, as you call -- >> he called an unarmed teenager. >> yeah. >> piers -- >> that's what he did. >> the facts in the case were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. okay? let's talk facts and evidence here. you want to talk about the acquittal, which is still very bitter in the minds of a lot of americans. and you know what? i kind of feel -- i'm feeling that resentment, but you know
what? get over it. okay? he's been acquitted. the man is suffering from ptsd, a life-changing event, a trama that was experienced and in the dsm iv, which i read earlier tonight, which states that, you know, the takes place in and around four months. that's the interval. and ptsd is directly correlated with a majority of domestic violence cases. are you aware of that? >> well, i'm increasingly aware that there must be a correlation between his mental condition and his propensity to threaten women with guns, yes, because that seems to be -- >> that's their version. piers, if you listen to his call, he said they -- they asked him do you have a weapon? he said yes but it's in the box and it's locked up. >> yeah. >> you know, piers, there is your side, their side and the truth. that's why we have a court -- >> there isn't my side.
i don't have a side. i'm not the law enforcement -- >> it's her side, his side and the truth and the truth -- >> right. >> -- will set you free. >> okay. well consider me liberated. frank taffee, thank you very much indeed. we'll be back with gloria allred with her reaction to that extraordinary interview. well, did you know that when a tree falls in the forest and no one's around, it does make a sound? ohhh...ohhh...oh boy! i'm falling. everybody look out! ahhhhh...ugh. little help here. geico. fifteen minutes could save you...well, you know. anybody? yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate. so i knit until it was full. you'd be crazy not to. is that nana? [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. it's an extremely simple tool. fedex one rate.
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be, as this prosecution proceeds involving the alleged victim, samantha, his girlfriend. and the hint is first of all, he said opportunistic women, i think one of the arguments may be that samantha is opportunistic, she offered to do an interview several weeks before this occurred. perhaps she might be seeking to be paid for an interview. i hope that's not the case, because that would hurt the prosecution, that would help the defense. >> what about his wife and the other women in his past that made similar allegations? are they all opportunists? >> that appears to be the point of view, at least his friend has. the point is i hope samantha does not fall into the trap of giving any interviews until the prosecution concludes and b, if
she does not to accept money because then she will be attacked as somebody who is doing this and making these allegations for the purpose of money or for fame and that will not be good for the case. >> what about the casual way george zimmerman's good friend threw out defending the fact he has a house full of guns until yesterday as they took it away as part of the bond deal. he said well boys will have their toys. >> exactly -- >> i shuddered when i heard him say that. >> i noticed. at the same time he's arguing he should have his toys, guns, lethal weapons and we know that because poor trayvon martin -- >> he's already killed somebody with a gun. >> and at the same time suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome. i would ask, if he's had this, how long has he been this way and has he been seeking counseling? how long has he been going to counseling or why has he not been going to counseling and that is dangerous and it is
often purported to be a defense in many domestic violence cases where guns are often used to hurt the significant other, the spouse or the girlfriend. >> i want to play a quick click from an "a.c. 360" interview, a juror that acquitted george zimmerman. >> people have now remarked subsequently that he gets his gun back and there are some people said that the idea that he can have a gun worries them. does that worry you? >> that doesn't worry me. i think he would be more responsible than anybody else on this planet right now. >> i mean, again, you listen to that and you think, is he just somebody whose a bit of a sociopath? the fact that he made that very reasonable call to the police, if you were being very cynical, you would say you knew he exploded again, threatened somebody with a gun and decided right, i know how to play the
system. i know how to work the law. i'll call the police and sound calm and reasonable and put the gun back or whatever and who knows what the truth is but you wouldn't put it past him given the behavior here. >> he's trying to testify without being under oath through a 911 call. that's not the purpose of a 911 call. the dispatcher saying the police are outside, essentially, why are you calling me? it's a pr stunt. he's trying to get his message out to the public, he did. the question is do we believe that message? i think it's -- you know, it can be scene by people who would be a little scenical, as just too artificial and something he did for pr purposes solely. >> boys will have their toys, quite extraordinary comment -- >> by the way, the second amendment can be restricted and often is by a judge in a domestic violence situation where they issued a court order that you cannot be around guns if you are convicted and sometimes pending the conclusion of a prosecution. >> gloria allred, thank you very much indeed. >> thank you. chris christie, a republican rising star that may give you a
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sorry, the system is temporary down. >> it's okay. it will come back. you know, that happens every day. >> health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius taking a lot of heat for the failings of obama care and the gop is hoping to keep the pressure on her boss. a rising republican star, author of "unintimidated." joining me tonight, governor scott walker. welcome to you. >> good to be here. >> are we in a position where republicans would love kathleen sebelius to keep her job as long as humanly possible? >> many of us like yourself warned about the problems we're seeing with obama care, not just with the rollout but as i cautioned to many republicans in my state and across the country, we need to be careful. we need to join with americans and join in their frustration, not in any way look like we're
relishing this and if obama care goes over the cliff, we shouldn't be the ones pushing it. we should be back trying to help everyday americans find a better way, a better alternative and that's what we're trying to do. >> does the apparent catastrophe of obama care in any way justify the government shutdown? because at the time the republicans were getting heat for forcing that but now some are saying well, they had a point, didn't they? >> well, i said months ago, so long before this -- so i'm not hindsight 20/20 but i believe the federal government is too big, takes on too many responsibilities for individual's lives but what i thought what was necessarily, what is left, the few things necessary are things that should work and i had a difficult time justifying making it work meant shutting it down. i thought drawing attention to obama care and the failures was important, but as we've seen, you don't need a republican to point that out.
everyday people are finding out sadly everyday not only is the website not working but the program its self-is not working and every time from this administration comes forward, there seems to be more problems on the horizon, including more details about the website not only not working but not being fully build out. >> indeed it does. let's play a clip now from this is you this week talking about who should be president. >> i think it's got to be an outsider. i think both the presidential and vice presidential nominee knee should be a former or current governor. the people who have done successful things, taken on reforms, ready to move america forward. >> we did research into you who you rolled out. no marco rubio, ran paul, you rolled them out because they are useful candidates and clears the decks for you. >> they are all great people but in my book in the purpose of my
question, who would my ideal candidate be and it ultimately would be current or former governor. i tell stories in my book about what governors are doing across america, that's the one bright shining spot for voters across this country after last year's presidential election is that in 30 states, there is republican governors, republican state lawmakers out there leading the way with real reforms and i think most people republican and democrat alike looking at washington would like to see some outsiders come in and shake things up. one of the few exceptions of that list probably would be someone like paul ryan who i know firsthand is a true reformer. he's from wisconsin and one of the few people who had courage to take on washington and the other folks are good, descent people but really, reform is happening in the states and that's why i made the point i made. >> in terms of where the republican party is, many people have been talking you up as a potential candidate.
they obviously talk about chris christie in glowing terms. he's a governor so he takes your box but what it will come down to is who wins the civil war within your party? who wins the gop battle for hearts and minds in the sense that it's likely to be either a tea party candidate or a moderate candidate, it can't be both. you obviously veer more to the tea party side. is somebody like you electable to the republican party as their nominee? >> oh, i think any of the 30 republican governors are and i think they have proven it in the states. think about states like iowa, ohio, wisconsin, michigan, you look at florida. you look at new mexico, nevada, what do they have in common? they are battleground states in the presidential election that barack obama carried in the last presidential election and yet, they are all states governed by republican governors. why? because we have an optimistic vision and talk about it in term that happens are relevant and show we have the courage to put those reforms into place, not just talk about them but
actually put them into action to better serve the people of the states. that's where i think we can bridge the gap being optimistic and focused on economic and fiscal issues. that's what we're doing in the states and what needs to be done in america governor, fascinated book, "unintimidated." scott walker, good to talk to you. >> good to talk to you. how the world would be different if kennedy lived, jeff greenfield on what a re-elected jfk would have done. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn?
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president obama, the first lady, the clintons and members of the kennedy family laying a wreath at the grave of john f. kennedy. president obama is the first president who was only 2 years old at the time. joining me now a man that was 6 and remembers all too well. him and his parents were in the line of fire. "if kennedy lived, imagine what the world and america would be like." jeff, let me start with you, there you are, a 6-year-old boy in the line of fire watching it happen right in front of your eyes. take me back to that moment and what you experienced and what you were feeling. >> yeah, we had gone downtown because it was my mother's birthday and hadn't really anticipated the parade causing
that much issues, and though we really were just kind of waiting, biting time, dad knew dallas well enough that we stayed in this park nearby the end of the parade and just really expected just a quick parade to go by and go on about our shopping. >> and when you realized what had happened, did you think that the president had been shot? did you think something was going on? was your mind telling you? >> yeah, i was only -- you know, i was very young, six or seven. i felt like it was a parade, the firecrackers were popping, which made sense to me. it's the only sound and even talking to my mother, recently, she assumed it was firecrackers, also. and then unfortunately, the shot that killed the president, it looked like confetti just coming out of the car and you just assumed that's what it was. >> your father, i believe, threw you on the floor, and your mother to protect you from potentially any more bullets.
at what point did you realize what had actually happened your parents protecting you because of the fact you were so young? >> dad has served in the military, in the south pacific. and i talked to him today, too. he knew instantly, when the shot occurred. and he saw his head. and he felt like he was dead that moment. he called the fbi. he said the first call to the fbi, they were casual about it. and he heard someone in the room say, kennedy's been shot. and with that, they sent three fbi agents over immediately. >> is there a day, jeff, when you don't think about that day back in dallas in '63? >> yes. in fact, people asked me, seeing someone shot in front of you, to have that negative impact on you? fortunately, because i was so young, i think i couldn't even
begin to comprehend that someone was being killed in front of me. but certainly it's more of an interesting tid bit of history they just happened to be there. >> yes. it certainly was an extraordinary eyewitness account there. jeff franza, thank you very much indeed for joining me. jeff greenfield, you've written a fascinating book "if kennedy lived" based on the premise if they'd had the right kind of shield and the president wouldn't have been assassinated. he would have had a second term. what would have been your conclusion? >> it would have been very different. principally, i think based on the evidence, not wishful thinking he probably would not have gone in vietnam. without a major land war in asia the whole 1960s becomes very different. without a war, the counter culture that happens becomes
kinder and gentler. you don't have flag burning, an underground, a democratic party ripped apart in 1968. if i'm right about this, and i think the evidence points to the probability that he would have stayed out based on the way he governed. >> he was a man of peace in many ways. i had bobby kennedy's son on earlier this week talking about how really he was -- almost everything he did was designed to avoid war. >> later. he ran as a hawk. he wanted to take the offensive. he tried to topple castro. and i think the lessons of the bay of pigs, near nuclear confrontation with cuba, with the soviet union over cuba, skepticism about the military changed him. we saw that at a speech he gave at american university he said we have to rethink the cold war. even though he went to the berlin wall, gave a rousing anti-communist speech. he just was looking to lower the temperature. he'd been to vietnam as a young congressman and said even back then, nationalism is a powerful weapon, powerful force.
so that's the principal difference. the other difference is -- i hate the phrase loss of innocence. it's a cliche. we've lost our innocence 500 times since we were a country. but the line of november 22nd, 1963 pre and post is dramatic. the country was in an optimistic, upbeat frame of mind. >> that's because the saw john f. kennedy as this incredibly charismatic, dynamic great guy with a beautiful family. what would have happened if within two, three years all the infidelities and scandals had come out? how would he have dealt with that as a serving president? >> this was the darker side. the basis, it's the plot of this book, is his political enemies seek to get this information out because the don't like what he's doing on the cold war. and he and his brother robert -- i worked for robert kennedy. i think he's a great man. but the used some pretty drastic tactics back then even when the issue was steel companies
raising their prices. i think the power of the presidency and attorney general would have been used in full measure to try to keep that story quiet. the other thing is because unlike the '90s, john kennedy couldn't go on television and say i've caused pain in my marriage and get away with it. it would have been a threat. >> it could have ended his presidency. had it come out i believe it would have posed a mortal political threat to his presidency. but for the sake of my plot, i suggest that he might have been able to keep it quiet. the other thing is, the press was different. the press did have much more hesitancy about getting into somebody's private life and we did not have youtube, several selfies, twitter, 24-hour cable news. >> just as well i would have thought for president kennedy. >> i don't want to put you out of work here on cable network. >> how would he have dealt with the civil rights issue? would he have been like johnson a proactive or a bit wary? >> johnson was a master of the senate. he was a southerner. he could talk to the southern segregationists. don't forget, kennedy's death in and of itself was a powerful force to get that bill passed. i think he was -- he saw civil rights even after he had thrown
the president's power in back of it as a political problem. not just in the south, in the white working class neighborhoods of the north. i think we would have gone the there because the moral force was strong but it would have been less successful. >> your gut feeling, would he have become a truly great president, do you think? >> it's very hard to cut through what the death meant and how that put him in a different category. i think he would have been seen by historians as a reasonably successful president. and avoiding world war iii gets a lot of of points from me. >> jeff greenfield, thank you very much indeed. called "if kennedy lived" fascinating thesis. we'll be right back.
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tomorrow night cnn special "the assassination of president kennedy" how our view of that terrible day has changed 50 years later. friday night i'll be back with members of the kennedy family and the secret service agent who risked his life in a doomed attempt to save the president. that's all for us tonight. "ac 360 later" starts right now. good evening, everyone. president john f. kennedy created the award 50 years ago. they include former president clinton, oprah winfrey, and ernie banks and polaroid inventor, edward land. that happened two weeks after the president killing in dallas. >> this is a